Not All Protein is Created Equally. Here’s What to Look For.

Along with fats and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three macronutrients that are essential for bodily functions. Getting enough dietary protein helps with energy, physical restoration, immune system support and more. In other words, getting enough protein is absolutely necessary.

But while many foods are good sources of protein, there are other factors that are important to keep in mind. More specifically, when you eat a protein-rich food, it can have other components as well—for better or worse. And while most sources of protein can be nourishing and healthy when eaten in moderation, it’s worth knowing more about the options available to you.

Types of protein can be divided into two categories: Animal protein, such as red meat, poultry, eggs, fish and milk. And plant protein, such as beans, legumes, tofu, nuts and seeds. Both types of protein can support the body. Here’s how…

The Benefits of Plant Protein

Also known as vegan protein, plant protein sources are diverse and plentiful. In addition to protein, vegan sources are often great providers of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Although vegan protein sources are often lower density than animal sources, one simple way to offset that is by incorporating a plant-based protein powder, shake or bar into your diet. That way, you know exactly how much protein you’re getting in one snack—like the 20+ grams of protein in each serving of Orgain’s plant-based powder.

When talking about “complete protein sources,” which include all nine essential amino acids, plant and animal proteins are often pitted against each other. However, Jessica D’Argenio Waller, MS, CNS, LDN, a nutritionist and Motherly’s health & wellness senior editor, notes it is a misconception that vegan sources can’t provide complete proteins. For example, all Orgain plant protein products are doctor-formulated to provide all of the essential amino acids the body needs.

The Benefits of Animal Protein

Naturally complete protein sources, animal proteins range from meat to eggs to dairy—which can also deliver excellent sources of iron, B vitamins and more. Additionally, animal protein is efficiently used by the body and has a great capacity to build muscle mass.

Specifically, research shows whey protein is a great resource for anyone looking to recover from fatigue and build muscle mass. As the protein isolated from milk, whey is an interesting supplement that is high in protein while low in saturated fat and carbohydrates. When seeking out quality whey protein, look for products that are sustainably sourced, like Orgain’s Grass-Fed Organic Nutrition Shakes.

Sustainably Sourced Protein

Another way to do your part to help the environment is to seek organic protein sources, which should always be designated by the USDA Organic logo in the United States. The USDA seal ensures that farmers or ranchers meet high standards for producing the item and that the product contains 95% or more organic ingredients. When you eat USDA-certified organic products, you can have peace of mind that you aren’t consuming GMOs, antibiotics or artificial hormones. This seal is only granted to producers and handlers who ensure agricultural sustainability through crop rotation, soil fertility and more.

And, in many cases, what’s missing from a protein source is just as important as what’s included. For example, Orgain’s commitment to clean nutrition for their plant-based protein powders, shakes and bars means there are never soy ingredients, carrageenan, GMOs, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

As D’Argenio Waller says, “Protein is an essential building block we get from our diet, which is why it’s so important to ensure there’s a protein source on your plate at every meal and snack.” By being more mindful not only about getting enough protein but also about getting it from sources that work for your body and the planet, you can feel good in more ways than one.

Explore the clean, plant-based, protein-rich options from Orgain, which is available on Amazon and at retailers nationwide.


1. Lim MT, Pan BJ, Toh DWK, Sutanto CN, Kim JE. Animal Protein versus Plant Protein in Supporting Lean Mass and Muscle Strength: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):661. Published 2021 Feb 18. doi:10.3390/nu13020661

2. Berrazaga I, Micard V, Gueugneau M, Walrand S. The Role of the Anabolic Properties of Plant-versus Animal-Based Protein Sources in Supporting Muscle Mass Maintenance: A Critical Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1825. Published 2019 Aug 7. doi:10.3390/nu11081825

3. West DWD, Abou Sawan S, Mazzulla M, Williamson E, Moore DR. Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study. Nutrients. 2017;9(7):735. Published 2017 Jul 11. doi:10.3390/nu9070735

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